Users' Executive Committee
Users' Executive Committee
Fermi Research Alliance, LLC

Meetings and Minutes

Minutes of the 9 May 2008 UEC Meeting

UEC Attending:


GSA Attending:


New Perspectives, Users' Meeting, and Project X Workshop Announcement

The first week of June should prove to be a very busy and interesting time at the lab. The New Perspectives conference, hosted by the GSA, will be on June 3rd. It will include a broad range of graduate student talks, poster presentations that will extend into the Users' Meeting, and a BBQ for graduate students in Kuhn barn in the evening. More information at: http://www.fnal.gov/orgs/gsa/calendar/np/2008/

The 2008 FNAL Users' Meeting will take place on June 4-5. As usual, a series of high profile talks from agency, laboratory, and university representatives have been arranged. In addition, there will be four featured graduate student talks, along with thesis and postdoctoral prize talks. A poster session and banquet will be held on June 4, before the public lecture by Professor Paul Steinhardt. To reserve a ticket for the public lecture, call 630-840-2787. After the public lecture, Festa Italiana will be held in the Kuhn barn. For more details and online registration see: http://www.fnal.gov/orgs/fermilab_users_org/users_mtg/2008/index.shtml

A 3rd workshop on physics at Project X will be held on June 5-6. The focus will be on understanding the implications of the P5 recommendations and providing strategic input to the Fermilab Directorate and PAC. A tentative agenda can be found at: http://www.fnal.gov/directorate/Longrange/Steering_Public/workshop-physics-3rd.html

Pool Closing Announcement

Due to budgetary constraints, the Fermilab pool will not be opening this year. The ramifications for summer camps, pre-school programs, swimming lessons and users are being assessed by NALWO and the UEC. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions please send them to Kirsten Tollefson (kirstin@fnal.gov) and Kevin Pitts (kpitts@fnal.gov).

Meeting with Deputy Directory Young-Kee Kim

(UEC) Any updates on P5 and the upcoming 3rd Project X workshop?

(YKK) A draft of the P5 report has gone to HEPAP and it is anticipated that the report will be available publicly by May 30th. The 3rd Project X workshop is timed with the Users' Meeting, as the Users' Meeting will already contain relevant talks from P5, DUSEL, etc. In the evening of June 5, after the UM ends (~6PM), we plan to have a Town Hall style meeting. It would be nice to get some of the agency representatives to attend if they are still in town. It will also be good to hear Director Oddone's point of view with all of the new information that will be coming to light. We will setup dinner in the cafeteria, so people can continue to mingle and collaborate. On Friday there will be a series of talks from experiments in the P5 roadmap, along with perhaps some talks from smaller experiments not specifically addressed by P5. In the afternoon, the working groups will meet to discuss P5 implications, strategy, and give feedback to the directorate.

(UEC) Have you heard anything more on running in 2010?

(YKK) We are really still waiting on the P5 report. From a recent talk by Orbach, it sounds like there is an inclination to run the Tevatron another year depending of course on the FY10 budget.

(UEC) Do you have an update on the layoffs?

(YKK) The most recent statement from the directorate is given in some detail in the May 2 issue of Fermilab today. The number of layoffs has been reduced to about 140, largely through some voluntary retirements and resignations.

(UEC) If a supplement came through would that impact the layoffs?

(YKK) No, it would not impact the layoffs, but it could curtail the rolling furloughs.

(UEC) How was the women's meeting?

(YKK) We had 24 women scientists (from graduate students and postdocs to senior scientists) come to the 1st meeting. The biggest topic of conversation was centered about the needs with respect to maternity and raising children. These topics were also discussed by Fermilab's committee on "Hiring and Retention of Scientific Staff" chaired by Cathy Newman-Holmes. This committee was commissioned by Pier Oddone more than a year ago and their recommendations and the lab's implementation status can be found at: http://www.fnal.gov/directorate/FRA_Initiatives/CHRSS.html Another topic was building up the net-working of women scientists. People said that our first meeting already provided a lot on this. We will continue to expand this net-working in the future.

(UEC) What is the directorate's response to the article by Sherry Towers indicating sexism still persists in the field?

(YKK/JS) CDF and D0 collaborations are looking into the systematics and whether or not there are other important factors that should be taken into account. That said, while the field has come a long way in improving equality, we should always keep assessing the situation and working towards improvement. The APS in general works very hard in understanding many different statistics, like why is the attrition rate higher for females? Decisions in inviting speakers to conferences could still be influenced by the "buddy" system. That type of influence is not necessarily just discriminatory to females, but to scientists in general.

Report from the Gathering Storm Symposium: 2 Years Later--Breese Quinn

Breese Quinn gave a summary of the April 29 national convocation on "Rising Above the Gathering Storm Two Years Later: Accelerating Progress toward a Brighter Economic Future.", which was organized by the National Academies. High profile talks were given by Norm Augustine, Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Kay Bailey, Craig Barrett, Samuel Bodman, and others. There were roughly 500 participants coming from business, government, university, and K-12 educations. In general it was felt that in spite of the report, not enough was being done to affect change while other countries continue to widen the gap in competitiveness. Some of the major areas of concern were
1) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education in K-12 is in very bad shape. The vast majority of teachers in these areas are do not actually have training specific to the subject.
2) Basic research in the physics science still needs to be put on a path to doubling, particularly in areas where alternate energy sources might arise.
3) Corporate tax laws make it very difficult for industries to do private research in the United States, thus creating an outflow of industrial research labs to other countries. For a detailed summary, see Breese's full summary talk at: http://www.fnal.gov/orgs/fermilab_users_org/GS_Convocation_2008.ppt

Outreach Subcommittee Summary--Lee Sawyer

This year the Sigma Pi Sigma honor society will be holding its 2008 Congress at Fermilab from November 6-8. The theme will be on science and citizenship, concentrating on the greater role of physicists in society and historical perspectives. It would be beneficial if the UEC and other FNAL users could help with some of the logistics of the student poster sessions, giving tours of the lab, and a breakfast that will be held. Contributions can be as large as taking groups on tours of your experiment or as simple as setting down with a group of kids at breakfast and telling them what you do for a living. There will also be exhibition tables set up where graduate programs can be advertised. Overall, we are expecting about 200 undergraduates to be in attendance. More information can be found at: http://www.sigmapisigma.org/congress/2008/index.htm

Dates for Future UEC Meetings

This is the last meeting for the current UEC.

Submitted by: Chris Polly, UEC Secretary